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Trump may have destabilized the whole Middle East by blurting out Israeli intelligence to Russians: report

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When President Donald Trump blurted out code-word protected Israeli intelligence to Russian officials in the Oval Office, he not only undermined other nations’ trust in the U.S. to keep secrets, the president may have further destabilized the already uneasy relationship between Israel and Iran — and by extension the entire Middle East.

Vanity Fair published an essay on Wednesday by author and journalist Howard Blum detailing the chain of events inadvertently set off by Trump’s loose lips.

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Blum dissected the now-notorious May meeting in the Oval Office from a number of different angles, questioning whether the president revealed the information out of genuine incompetence, an overeager desire to impress his guests with his secret knowledge or whether the president is genuinely acting in Russia’s strategic interest.

Whatever the motivation, Trump has soured — perhaps irrevocably — the relationship between U.S. intelligence services and Israel.

“I get great intel,” the president boasted on May 10 to Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergei Kisylak and Russia’s foreign minster Sergei Lavrov. “I have people brief me on great intel every day.”

“He quickly went on to share with representatives of a foreign adversary not only the broad outlines of the plot to turn laptop computers into airborne bombs but also at least one highly classified operational detail — the sort of sensitive, locked-in-the-vault intel that was not shared with even Congress or friendly governments,” wrote Blum.

He continued, “The president did not name the U.S. partner who had spearheaded the operation. (Journalists, immediately all over the astonishing story, would soon out Israel). But, more problematic, President Trump cavalierly identified the specific city in ISIS-held territory where the threat had been detected.”

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Now, Blum said, “the president’s reckless disclosure continues to wreak havoc.”

U.S. intelligence agencies no longer trust Trump not to leak strategic information to the Kremlin. Third country agencies — ally nations like The Five Eyes and Israel — no longer believe that their sensitive information is safe in U.S. hands.

Israel is reportedly furious with Trump over the leak and battening down for possible hostilities with Russia’s closest strategic ally in the region, Iran.

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“Trump betrayed us,” said a senior Israeli military to Vanity Fair. “And if we can’t trust him, then we’re going to have to do what is necessary on our own if our back is up against the wall with Iran.”

A war between Israel and Iran could be catastrophic for the region and plunge it into chaos. Experts say that by now the Russians have handed the intelligence to Iran. That nation will have done everything in its power to run down the source of the leak and identify the source.

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“What, then, was the fate of Israel’s agent in Syria?” Blum asked. “Was the operative exfiltrated to safety? Has he gone to ground in enemy territory? Or was he hunted down and killed?”

An ex-Mossad officer with knowledge of the operation and its aftermath declined to tell Blum, but would only say, “Whatever happened to him, it’s a hell of price to pay for a president’s mistake.”

Read the full report here.

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Supreme Court stuns experts with 7-2 ruling in Trump tax case

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In a 7-2 decision that surprised many court observers, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that President Donald Trump cannot block a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney seeking his tax returns.

"Two hundred years ago, a great jurist of our Court established that no citizen, not even the President, is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding. We reaffirm that principle," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the decision.

The court sent the case back to lower courts for further proceedings. Axios described the ruling as "a stinging loss for Trump, who has fought relentlessly to keep these records secret."

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GOP has all but given up on containment — instead they’re feeding Americans to the ‘coronavirus meatgrinder’: op-ed

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Writing in The Week this Thursday, Ryan Cooper says that as the coronavirus continues to spike across the country, Republicans have essentially abandoned efforts to stem the spread. "Instead they are feeding the American people into the coronavirus meatgrinder," he writes.

GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is focused on protecting companies from liability if they infect their employees or customers, while President Trump threatens to cut off funding from schools that don't open in the fall.

"For months now Republicans have been positing a tradeoff between pandemic containment and the economy, as if we just cancel the lockdowns then everything can go back to normal," Cooper writes. "What they stubbornly refuse to understand is that the virus is the problem. As we are seeing, even in this benighted country a critical mass of people will not go about their normal activities if they are afraid of catching a dangerous disease. Similarly, Sweden did not officially lock down, and as a result it has suffered six-12 times as many deaths as its Scandinavian neighbors — yet its economy took just as bad a hit as theirs. Now that Norway, Denmark, and Finland have contained the virus and are reopening safely but many Swedes are still staying home, the economic damage will be even worse in relative terms."

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Mask-free UFC fighter punches and hurls racial slurs at older man for ‘touching’ him at restaurant

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UFC fighter Mike Perry was seen on video punching an older man for allegedly touching him. Perry, who is white, can also be heard using the N-word multiple times.

According to ESPN, the incident occurred at Table 82 in Lubbock, Texas on Wednesday.

In a video shared on social media, Perry appears irate as he is ushered out of the restaurant.

Austin police officers who arrived on the scene declined to arrest Perry but said that an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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