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Ex-CIA chief stuns Nicole Wallace: It’s ‘absolutely’ possible Russia ‘dispatched Manafort to the Trump campaign’

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As headlines surrounding former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, a former defense and intelligence official raised the possibility that Special Counsel Robert Mueller may be investigating how he joined the campaign in the first place.

“It’s possible that Russia actually sent and dispatched Paul Manafort to the Trump campaign,” Jeremy Bash, who formerly served as chief of staff for the Defense Department and the CIA, told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace. “Or at least that once Paul Manafort attached himself to the Trump campaign, the Russians said, okay, now our agent is inside.”

The Kremlin, Bash argued, might have “manipulated the campaign not just through propaganda…but also through agents of influence.”

“Wait wait wait,” Wallace said. “Are you saying it’s possible that [Mueller] wants to find out if Manafort was a Russian plant?”

“Absolutely,” he replied. “They’re going to want to know if there were ties between Paul Manafort and Russia, whether they were financial or otherwise, that caused him to in effect do Russia’s bidding.”

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The investigation may look into whether Manafort, liked fired national security adviser Mike Flynn, worked on behalf of the Russians “wittingly or unwittingly” within the Trump campaign.

“The ultimate question,” he continued, “is whether or not Trump himself knew about it…and once he found out that the bureau was investigating them, why did he try to shut down that investigation?”

Watch Bash outline the reasons Manafort may be a Russian plant below, via MSNBC.

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BUSTED: CNN’s panel of women defending Trump’s racism were literally the ‘Trumpettes’

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CNN aired a panel that featured “Republican women” defending President Trump’s racist tweets, but failed to mention that they were actually part of a pro-Trump group whose members the network had interviewed in the past.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

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Ben Carson is Donald Trump’s faulty human shield against accusations of racism

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Ben Carson is back in the news — after another long absence — because Donald Trump has once again been accused of racism.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

The secretary of Housing and Urban Development is the only African-American member of the president’s Cabinet, and is often trotted out to clean up after Trump makes a mess too obviously problematic for the media to ignore. While Trump has tried to spin his recent racist attacks on four progressive freshman congresswomen as a strategic maneuver meant to manipulate Democratic infighting to his advantage, Carson's re-emergence from his stupor should be a clear indication that the president’s team recognizes the damage that can be caused by his unforced errors.

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An illegal trend could be emerging after Trump let Kellyanne Conway off the hook for breaking federal law

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Federal workplaces are supposed to be free of politics, but a Trump administration appointee used a government forum Wednesday to express support for the president’s reelection.

At a conference on religious freedom hosted by the State Department, an official told the crowd of several hundred people that “hopefully he will be reelected,” referring to President Donald Trump.

It’s illegal for federal employees to engage in political activities while they are on the job.

“It’s a violation of the Hatch Act for a federal official, to say in her official capacity, to hope that the president will be reelected,” said Kathleen Clark, an expert on legal ethics at the Washington University in St. Louis.

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