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‘I need a shower’: NYT journalist creeped out by clip of Pence and Cabinet fawning over Trump

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On Thursday’s edition of “Deadline: White House” on MSNBC, host Nicolle Wallace played video of from the uncomfortably effusive praise that Vice President Mike Pence and members of the presidential Cabinet heaped on President Donald Trump.

“Yikes,” said Wallace after the clip before pointing out that the Washington Post reported that Pence praised Trump once every 12 seconds for three minutes.

“I don’t even do that for my 5-year-old,” said Wallace, “who I think is really great.”

“First of all, I think I need a shower after hearing that,” said New York Times chief national correspondent Mark Leibovich, who went on to say, “It’s a little weird, there’s no question about it.”

“These people privately speak very differently,” he said, contrasting the the sycophancy on display Wednesday.

Watch the video, embedded below:

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Hope Hicks told Congress that Trump has cut her out of his life — he virtually never calls her anymore

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Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks was broadly considered to be one of President Donald Trump's favorite staffers.

But when she left the administration in 2018, the president virtually cut off ties to her, and has only spoken with her five times since then, according to the transcript of the closed-door hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday:

In her interview, Hope Hicks says she has only spoken to Trump between five and ten times since she left the White House in February 2018. (He used to call that much in a day.) They last spoke in April, when they had dinner. Our story from yesterday:https://t.co/3gzVY21c3z pic.twitter.com/VMZqhnbgib

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Hope Hicks called Trump’s plan for Jeff Sessions ‘odd’ — but White House lawyers blocked her from elaborating why

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By all accounts, ex-White House Communications Director Hope Hicks was not particularly forthcoming in her interview with the House Judiciary Committee — but according to the 273-page transcript of the closed-door hearing released on Thursday, she did begin to discuss a key point at which President Donald Trump potentially obstructed justice — until White House lawyers sitting with her intervened.

CNN's Manu Raju explained the details to Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room."

"She did answer some questions about her time in the campaign season, and at one point did make one reference to something that later became a dispute," said Raju. "She was asked about the details in the Mueller report in which the president tried to get Jeff Sessions, the then-Attorney General, to un-recuse himself, to go back and oversee the Russia investigation after he had stepped aside from overseeing it."

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Elections regulator warns foreign intrusion into US campaigns is already happening

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In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Federal Elections Commission is warning that there is already foreign intrusion in the U.S. campaigns.

FEC chair Ellen L. Weintraub was forced to issue a statement after President Donald Trump said that he wasn't sure what he would do if a foreign government approached him with "dirt" on his political opponent. He said that he "might" tell the FBI but would likely hear what they had to say. He said that it wasn't illegal, but Weintraub issued a statement reiterating that it is illegal.

"I am particularly concerned about the risk of illicit funds and foreign support influencing our political system. Foreign dark money represents a significant vulnerability for American democracy. We do not know the extent to which our political campaigns receive foreign dark money, but we do know that the political money can be weaponized by well-funded hostile powers," the letter warned.

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