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Trump campaign aide repeatedly tried to set up meetings with Russian leaders including Putin: report

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Three months before Donald Trump Jr. agreed to meet with an emissary for the Russia government to discuss potentially damaging information on Hillary Clinton, a foreign policy aide for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign repeatedly tried to set up meeting between the campaign and Russian leaders “including [Vladimir] Putin.”

George Papadopoulos repeatedly offered to set up “a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump,” the Washington Post reports. Papadopoulos reportedly told Trump campaign officials he was acting as an intermediary for the Russian government.

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“Putin wants to host the Trump team when the time is right,” Papadopoulos wrote in an email to former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski on April 27, 2016. He also told Lewamdowski he had fielded “a lot of calls over the past month” related to a meeting between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“Russia has been eager to meet with Mr. Trump for some time and have been reaching out to me to discuss,” Papadopoulos said in a separate email to former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

As the Post reports, Papadopoulos’ multiple attempts to arrange a meeting between Trump officials and Russia show the Kremlin was “looking for entry points and playing upon connections with lower-level aides to penetrate the 2016 campaign.”

“The bottom line is that there’s no doubt in my mind that the Russian government was casting a wide net when they were looking at the American election,” retired CIA agent Steven L. Hall told the Post. “I think they were doing very basic intelligence work: Who’s out there? Who’s willing to play ball? And how can we use them?”

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The report flies in the face of blanket denials by members of the Trump campaign, including Lewandowski, who said earlier this year he doesn’t “know of any person working on the campaign” that had contact with Russia.


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Trump took out DNI head Dan Coats to install a new acting director in charge of whistleblowers: CIA veteran

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Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy," a longtime veteran CIA official said the whistleblower, who ran to the inspector general with a complaint about Donald Trump asking Ukraine's president for dirt on Joe Biden, should expect the president and his aides to come after them.

Speaking with host Joy Reid, Jonna Mendez said she saw the first warnings signs that something was up in the U.S. intelligence community when the president forced DNI head Dan Coats and his top deputy out.

"Through the lens of someone who spent 27 years at the CIA, the thing that caught my eye instantly was Dan Coats' resignation follow by Sue Gordon," Mendez explained. "The fact that Dan Coats went into a meeting and said 'Sue, you've got to resign' and that she did, truncating a career that clearly hadn't reached its zenith."

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2020 Election

GOP’s cancellation of presidential primaries could blow up in Trump’s face — here’s why

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In recent weeks, Republican state party committees have been moving to cancel presidential primaries to prevent Never-Trump conservatives, like former Reps. Joe Walsh (R-IL) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) and former Gov. Bill Weld (R-MA), from challenging the president from the right. So far, Republicans in Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, and South Carolina have all announced they will scrap the voting process for 2020.

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Alternet 2020

Nancy Pelosi faces serious challenges — but she’s failed miserably in two key ways

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As I wrote earlier this week, with its muddled messaging on impeachment, the House Democratic leadership may have figured out a way of both demoralizing the Democratic base and firing up Trump's supporters. It's a mess.

But fairness requires us to acknowledge an important fact: Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't have the votes to launch an official impeachment process. And it's not close. At present, The Washington Post's tally finds 137 members of the House in favor of launching an impeachment inquiry, with 92 opposed and 6 others not taking a position. Leadership can twist arms on a close vote, but when you're close to 100 votes shy of a majority, it's impossible to whip a measure across the finish line--especially one of such consequence.

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