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Authoritarianism expert: Russia hacked Lindsey Graham’s personal emails so Trump may be blackmailing him

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Writer and expert on authoritarian regimes Sarah Kendzior appeared on MSNBC Thursday and blasted Republicans for their submissiveness to President Donald Trump.

She and host Joy Reid discussed the bizarre turn-around of Sen. Lindsey Graham who went from calling Trump a “kook” to attacking the media for trying to “label the guy some kind of kook not fit to be president.”

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The uncomfortably effusive praise of Trump by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the cabinet, as well as an unctuous speech by long-serving Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) led Kendzior to speculate that Trump might even be blackmailing some officials.

“The RNC was hacked,” Kendzior said. “We don’t know what happened with those e-mails. We know that Lindsey Graham’s personal e-mails were also hacked and we know that Trump has a long track record of blackmailing and threatening those who he sees as his political opponents. That goes back throughout his entire career.”

Kendzior reminded Reid that many Republicans benefitted in 2016 from millions of dollars of dark money donated by Kremlin-aligned Russian nationals living in the U.S. and that Graham is one of those politicians.

“I think what concerns me most is that they seem afraid,” she said of the Republicans gathered to heap compliments on Trump this week. “They seem unable to stand up for themselves. They lack all dignity.”

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“Trump has berated them, he has insulted them,” Kendzior said. “He’s often gone after their wives and their family members, saying terrible things and yet they prostrate themselves to him. What kind of leader are you? What kind of man are you?”

Rumors have long swirled about the never-married Graham’s sexual orientation. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee insinuated earlier this year that he has concerns about Graham’s sexuality.

When the South Carolina senator was proving to be insufficiently loyal to Trump in March, Huckabee said, “I sometimes wonder what uniform he puts on each morning when goes out to the field to play… and I’m not just talking about the partisan uniform.”

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‘Train-wreck of a witness’: Analysts nail ‘obstructive’ Corey Lewandowski for proving the Democrats’ case

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Political commentator Catherine Rampell disagreed with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni that the Democrats faltered during the hearing with Corey Lewandowski Tuesday. Former state and federal prosecutor Elie Honig called Lewandowski a "train-wreck of a witness."

She explained that Democrats had an extremely low bar: they had to prove Trump obstructed justice and that Corey Lewandowski gave one of the examples of such obstructions. In that sense, Rampell said they accomplished their goals.

"I don’t think this was a great day for Corey Lewandowski," she began. "This is a guy who went on TV and announced to the world -- apparently at the same time he is also trying to fundraise for Senate -- that he lies most of the time. Except when he's under oath."

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CNN

WATCH: Ana Navarro keeps shouting down Trump booster — even as CNN host cuts to commercial

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President Donald Trump cheered on his top Hispanic advisor Steve Cortez, who appeared before a New Mexico audience. Trump asked Cortez which he loved more, Hispanics or America, which prompted CNN's Ana Navarro to blast the president for racism. Meanwhile, Trump's latest CNN shill cried "political correctness."

"Look, I suspect he didn't want to offend Steve Cortez and I suspect Steve Cortez was not offended," Navarro said. "But really what a stupid thing to say. Right? To somehow ask the question about whether you love the country more than you love Hispanics -- they are one and the same."

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Pennsylvania Republican senator arrested and charged with possession of child pornography

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According to a release from Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Republican state Sen. Michael Folmer has been arrested and charged with possession of child pornography.

The release said that the investigation began as the result of a CyberTip about Tumblr discovering that a user had uploaded child pornography onto their site. It ultimately led to the home of Folmer in Lebanon, PA. A search warrant yielded images on Folmer's phone.

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