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Ex-CIA head: ‘If an American intelligence officer had done’ what Kushner did ‘we’d consider it espionage’

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Appearing on MSNBC late Friday night, a former head of the CIA expressed disbelief at the revelation that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, proposed a secret back-channel communication line between the White House and the Kremlin.

Speaking with host Lawrence O’Donnell, John McLaughlin — who served as Acting Director of Central Intelligence under President George W. Bush after director George Tenet stepped down — was asked about the blockbuster report by the Washing post.

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“John McLaughlan, you worked in the CIA. You come across say an intercepted Russian communication which seem what would be the certainly CIA reaction to intercepting this communication from the Russian ambassador indicating that Jared Kushner wanted to set up this secret communication?” O’Donnell asked.

“Well, Lawrence, if that’s what it was, the first reaction would be is this a prank?” McLaughlin — who still seemed stunned — replied. “It would be kind of disbelief, because it’s not the sort of they think you would expect to happen in a normal transition. So oddly for me, I was thinking about it tonight. I see all of this through the eyes of an intelligence officer, of course. And it is simultaneously familiar and bizarre. Familiar in the sense that I know secret channels, used them all my life. Bizarre in the sense that it’s a proposed secret channel through the government that is probably the most active government in the world in carrying out espionage against the United States.”

“So in that context, if you were to get this at the CIA, having read that and having known that, your first reaction would be could this be true?” he continued. “And then you would discover it is true and move on from there. I don’t want to overstate this because obviously there is a lot we don’t know — we don’t know the exact content of the conversation. We don’t know the objective that was a part of the conversation — those things we don’t know. But I can’t keep out of my mind the thought that, if an American intelligence officer had done anything like this, we’d consider it espionage.”

Watch the video below via MSNBC:

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Iran accuses foreign forces of raising Gulf ‘insecurity’ — but doesn’t mention Trump by name

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President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday denounced the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf and said Iran will present a peace plan, after its arch-foe Washington ordered reinforcements to the tense region.

"Foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region," Rouhani said before a military parade commemorating the Iran-Iraq war.

Rouhani also said Iran would present a peace plan to the United Nations within days.

"In this sensitive and important historical moment, we announce to our neighbours that we extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to them," he said.

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2020 Election

Trump holds mass rally with Indian Prime Minister that was more like a campaign event than official one

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US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday declared themselves united in a relentless fight against "terrorism," vowing a close, personal alliance in front of tens of thousands of Indian-Americans.

The two leaders, like-minded nationalists fond of fiery rallies and skeptical of traditional media, heaped praise on each other in an unusual joint appearance inside a football stadium in Houston.

To the bhangra beats of four drummers in saffron turbans, Trump in his dark suit and Modi in a yellow kurta and vest made a grand entrance with arms clenched together to ecstatic cheers from a crowd estimated by organizers at 50,000.

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Here’s how the law governing whistleblowers applies to the Trump Ukraine complaint

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This week it was revealed that President Donald Trump did something so concerning that an intelligence staffer felt the need to report the incident and file for whistleblower protections.

Trump asked Ukraine to look into scandals about former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter. For nearly a year, Trump's former attorney Rudy Giuliani was admittedly working to persuade officials in Ukraine to find "dirt" on the Bidens that they could use in the election. While the accusations against the younger Biden have been disproven, it's suspected, but not confirmed, that this was the incident detailed in the complaint.

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